The 1910's

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.11

     challenging words:    bootleg, booze, druggist, liquor, constitutional, alcoholic, lethal, reconsider, notorious, alcohol, concoction, spelled, illegal, income, provided, prove
     content words:    United States, Eighteenth Amendment, Volstead Act, Al Capone, Twenty-First Amendment

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By Jane Runyon

1     By the early 1900's, many people in the United States began to worry about the use of alcohol by citizens. They were afraid that too many people were drinking alcohol. It was possible that these drinking people could become a danger to themselves and the people around them. Alcohol can have an effect on those who drink it. They sometimes lose control of their thought processes. Their bodies don't react as quickly to danger. Long time use of alcohol can cause permanent damage to organs in the body such as the liver.
2     In 1905, three states made it illegal to drink or have alcohol within the state. By 1912, nine states made alcohol illegal. In 1916, twenty-six of the forty-eight states had prohibited the use of alcohol. In 1919, members of Congress passed the Eighteenth Amendment. This amendment to the Constitution made it illegal to make, sell, or transport alcohol in the United States. Prohibition officially began on January 16, 1920.
3     Often times when a law is passed, it seems to be an invitation for some people to try and get around that law. This happened often during Prohibition. The Volstead Act, which followed the constitutional amendment, spelled out when, where, and how much alcohol could be produced and still be legal. Alcohol as a medicine was still allowed. A doctor could prescribe alcohol to a patient. The patient could take his or her prescription to a druggist, and the druggist had to give the patient the alcohol. Over a million barrels of alcohol a year were consumed in this manner.

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